Learning is done wherever a person is present
and active. When we consider which space
most people inhabit, we will conclude that the
biggest, most meaningful school is the city.
The thought that guided me when developing
projects that deal with the relationship
between cities and education was that the
former is an actual learning space, whose
residents are both teachers and students, and
the curriculum is based on direct encounters
where we learn from each other and share
content, ideas and experience.
While forming the educational program of
The White City Center, I wondered how to
best carry those ideas, that originate from
urban space, into an institution that examines
it; how can an organization operating out of
a building function as the beating heart of an urban space? And if educational activity
lays within every occurrence and is born out
of passion and curiosity to learn and evolve,
how can it be applied to an institution?
In museums and cultural institutions,
education is often managed under a sub-
division, but if education (or learning) is an
integral part of life, it cannot be reduced to a department; we must recognize that the
entire center is an educational organization.
This notion has consequences for the
operations of the Center and its staff and it requires great involvement. At the same
time, it allows them the freedom that comes
from framing the activity as an experiment. In
other words, the emphasis is not on achieving
goals, but on the process of searching.
The Liebling house, turning into The
White City Center once the renovation is over,
is a residential building. In this aspect, urban
dwelling practices are part of its spirit, and
are the object of study from the perspective of
architecture, conservation and urban thought.
The center considers itself as both teacher
and student of experts and residents. These
ideas have led me to develop the Center’s first
learning model: Apartment No. 2—a publicly
open educational space that maintains a
sense of intimacy and belonging.
Apartment No. 2 transformed from a
residential space to a place where one can
learn about dwelling through architecture,
design and crafts. Its rooms have been
converted into work spaces occupied by
architects, designers, artists and artisans.
The framework is of a multidisciplinary studio,
where members spend their time, focusing on their own practices. In the afternoon, the
rooms are opened and the public is invited to
visit, choosing whether to develop a guided
personal project or join the ongoing activities,
like planning an apartment or developing a show.
The architecture studio deals with urban
living and the relationship a person has with
their place of residence. Through the question
of habitat we can review the fundamental
questions of architecture—aesthetics,
relations and proportions of space; the light;
and the materials.
The crafts and design studio is
dedicated to reviewing and creating useful
objects necessary for urban living. The
activities include studying the objects, the
need for them and how they are created—
from design to production. The meetings
combine craft and its cultural background
with contemporary design.
The writing and performance studio focuses on the personal story and its
relationship with the public urban space. It deals with the ability to tell a story and
how the urban space encompasses endless
narratives. The studio teaches writing,
playwriting, set design and performing in
front of an audience.
At the adjacent garden we learn about urban
ecology with the CityTree community, who
constructed a working and learning space
featuring a seedbed and nursery. Artists have
set up exhibition spaces around the garden,
where they showcase artworks and ideas. We also offer workshops at the apartment
and in the garden, as well as developing art
and architecture tours for children on-site and
throughout the city.